The lowly cockroach, one of the most reviled insects, could become the world’s next hero. Outfitted with tiny sensor backpacks, cockroaches could be deployed in a swarm to sniff out toxic chemicals, bombs, or communicate with and locate victims of a disaster.
A team of scientists from Purdue University led by Dr. B. Jung, a professor of engineering, has developed and tested a highsensitivity, low power wireless transceiver for insect-based wireless sensor networks. The stout and tank-like roaches lugging a microcontroller, sensor, antenna, and wireless transceiver, can either send data directly to a base station or pass data to other roaches closer to the station.
The project originated as an assignment from the systems developed for the US Army. Jung says, “Based on the successful development of this prototype, the work is taking steps toward commercialization.”